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Achieving Energy Independence in India  : Optimizing Bharat’s Green Energy Potential

Atmanirbhar Bharat, the initiative of Prime Minister Modi, aims to achieve energy independence for India by 2047. India now imports 80% of its industrial coal as well as 90% of its oil. The current price and supply instability in the world’s energy markets puts a pressure on India’s foreign exchange reserves and causes inflation throughout the economy. India now has the chance to reduce its reliance on imported energy by investing in green hydrogen, electric vehicles, battery storage, and renewable energy sources. The three largest energy-consuming sectors in India are power, transportation, and industry, which together account for more than 80% of energy consumption and energy-related CO2 emissions. This study evaluates a pathway for India to meet its growing energy needs and achieve near-complete energy independence by 2047.

 The following are key findings:

Investments in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and green hydrogen are necessary for energy independence. We feel that it is essential to guarantee that the majority of the new energy assets are clean because so much of India’s infrastructure has yet to be constructed. By 2030, more than 500 GW of non-fossil power generation capacity would be installed, and by 2040 and 2047, an 80% and 90% clean grid, respectively, would be in place. By 2035, electric vehicles may account for almost all new car sales. By 2047, 90% of iron and steel, 90% of cement, and 100% of fertilizers will be produced using green hydrogen and electricity.

Clean technology can help India become energy independent by 2047. By 2047, switching to electric cars may lower crude oil imports by over 90% (or $240 billion), while green industrial production using hydrogen-based fuel cells and electrified machinery will cut down on industrial coal imports by 95%. The 2 million tonnes cumulatively required for new electric vehicle production and grid-scale battery storage systems between 2023 and 2040 might be produced domestically using recently found reserves.

It is advantageous economically to be energy independent. Because renewable energy, electric vehicle batteries, and hydrogen infrastructure are capital assets with rapidly declining costs, clean energy will lower and inflation-proof India’s energy expenses. By 2047, switching to electric transportation will save consumers a net $2.5 trillion (INR 19 million crores). As important export markets, such as the EU, make pledges to carbon neutrality, Indian industry must adapt to clean technology like green steel fabrication in order to remain competitive globally.

Tax revenue effects from the switch to clean energy would be negligible. 12% of the money received by state and federal governments comes from taxes, charges, and royalties on fossil fuels. Even with a vigorous switch to sustainable energy, fossil fuel usage and related tax revenues won’t fall below 2020 levels until the middle of the 2030s.

Infrastructure for clean energy will need to be rapidly expanded. Electricity demand may rise from 1300 TWh/yr to over 6600 TWh/yr by 2050 as a result of transportation, industrial electrification, and renewable hydrogen production. For this, the deployment of renewable energy would need to be massively scaled up to 40 GW/year through 2030, accelerating up to around 100 GW/year between 2030 and 2050. In comparison to business as usual, the deployment of clean energy will require a net increase in investment of $1.5-2 trillion (INR 11–15 million crores) between 2023–2047.

Gaining energy independence might improve the environment and general health without hindering economic progress. Between 2023 and 2047, almost 4 million premature deaths linked to air pollution might be prevented with a vigorous clean energy transition. Early in the 2030s will see a peak in India’s CO2 emissions, which will thereafter decline to 800 million tonnes annually by 2047 (85–90% of the way to net-zero emissions).

A large amount of policy support would be needed to manage the clean energy transition. Five pillars are required for the policy ecosystem: financial support for developing technologies, deployment mandates for commercially viable and cost-effective clean technologies, long-term infrastructure planning, scaling up domestic manufacturing, and preparation for a just transition.

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